Diabetes Mellitus

What is diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus is a condition that develops when your pet cannot use sugar (glucose) effectively and control the sugar level in the blood.  Insulin, which is made in the pancreas, is essential for regulating the use and storage of blood glucose, insufficient insulin production is potentially life threatening.

There are two types of diabetes, and although there is no cure, pets with either type can be successfully managed through nutrition, exercise, and if necessary, regular insulin medication.  With the right food and advice from our office, your diabetic pet can still enjoy a happy, active life.

What causes diabetes?

A reduction in insulin production is usually caused by damage to the pancreas, in some pets hormonal changes or medications can reduce the effect of insulin.  Other factors that increase the chance of your pet developing diabetes include:

Body Condition Overweight cats and dogs are more likely to develop diabetes.  Severely obese cats are most at risk.
Age Pets can develop diabetes at any age, but the peak onset is around 8 years
Breed Some breeds of dogs, such as Samoyeds, Miniature Schnauzers, Miniature Poodles and Bichon Frise are more predisposed to diabetes than others.  In cats, Burmese are more at risk than other breeds.

Establishing a routine

The key to keeping a diabetic pet healthy is routine.  Feeding, exercise and, if necessary giving medication should take place at the same times each day.  This helps maintain stable blood glucose levels.

Does my pet have diabetes?

The signs of diabetes are difficult to recognize because they are similar to those of other disorders.  If you notice any of the following, it could mean your dog has diabetes.:

  • Increased thirst
  • Urinates more often *
  • Weight loss
  • Doesn’t eat
  • Tired, lack of energy
  • Vomiting
  • Cataracts (in dogs)

* Noted in cats by “clumping” in the litter box and the need to change litter more often.

Important note: Once diabetes is diagnosed, it is important that your pet is regulary monitored.  We will check your pet’s glucose levels and will adjust medication to keep your pet stable.

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